'I had a man dressed in a Nazi uniform come to see me' - New Plymouth mayor won't seek re-election in wake of racial hate

New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd last night announced he will not seek re-election after being harassed and abused for supporting local Maori.

Andrew Judd says he’s stepping down after doing what he thinks is right has made him deeply unpopular. Source: Seven Sharp

"I was removed as a patron of a club, uninvited to community events. Getting abuse walking down the street at the Santa parade," Mr Judd told Seven Sharp.

"From that point on I've somewhat hidden my family, stopped taking them to events and things."

Mr Judd said he has been spat on by a woman in a supermarket while with his children.

"Firstly I was shocked and stunned, never been spat at before, [I] had my children with me, they were looking a bit fearful, so we left and I talked to them in car that part of my job people will express their anger or frustration in different ways."

Mr Judd is also a "recovering racist", and said when he was elected mayor three years ago he was intolerant towards Maori.

"I would spend most of my life deflecting. I'd say 'I'm not racist, we've got a treaty, we're paying them out, what's their problem, they don't get over it, they don't improve themselves, they are all in jail, what's wrong with them, they are all savages'.

"Never did I ask what part have I played, have I ever bothered to learn anything in the Maori world? I'd grab a haka as if I owned it, didn't even understand it, couldn't even say it properly."

However, his perception changed when he visited a section of land which was owned by the local council and set to be given to Maori as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

He read the treaty settlement affecting the land and he began to think about how Maori were not represented on his council.

He suggested a Maori member on standing committees, but the council voted against it.

He suggested a Maori seat on the 14 member council which was passed but many councillors didn’t attend the vote, while one resigned afterwards in protest.

Parts of the community were outraged. Grey Power petitioned and forced a binding referendum, while 83 per cent of New Plymouth voters didn’t want Maori representation.

"Friends [I’ve] known for years [were] avoiding me, ringing me up saying what a mistake, we voted for you, you're a Maori lover," Mr Judd said.

"I had a man dressed in a Nazi uniform come to see me, saying hatred stuff, I had Christians quoting chapters of the bible."

Other mayors from throughout New Zealand have also avoided him at local government meetings.

"I'm not seeking re-election, no, as much as I want to, I know it will be used as a fight to hurt us further," he said.

"We need to look after each other, we need to look after our indigenous people, if we can't do that how on earth are we going to grow and become this multicultural country we say we are going to be."